Plan Your Trip

family vacation planning

Ready to plan and book your own trip? Over years for family vacation planning both for my family and for others, I’ve come to rely on certain travel planning resources. If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get a free family vacation planning kit with step-by-step questionnaires, worksheets and check lists.

I’ve written about many of my favorite travel apps but here are some of my other go-to planning websites and services.

Accommodations:

1. Airbnb — We have used Airbnb many times to find affordable apartment rentals around the world. It is often cheaper than a hotel with much more space. Here are some tips on finding a good vacation rental. Sign up today here and get a $25 credit off your first stay!

2. Homeaway — Just like Airbnb, we use Homeaway to find apartments and vacation home rentals. Generally I’ve found Homeaway to be better for homes/cabins, while Airbnb has a better selection of apartments.

Homeaway

3. Booking.com — If I’m looking for hotels, one of my favorite sites is Booking.com. They have very comprehensive listings so I don’t feel like I need to track down six different sites to see my options.

4. Priceline — I often use Priceline for short-term stays were I don’t care which specific hotel I am in, as long as it meets certain ratings, has certain amenities, and is in the neighborhood that I want. We’ve gotten great deals through Priceline in NYC, Baltimore and other cities

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5. Trip Advisor — I turn to Trip Advisor at many points in my trip planning from reading hotel reviews to finding attractions to reading restaurant critiques. I find it much more trustworthy from a traveler perspective than Yelp or other review sites.

Trip Research:

Lonely Planet — As much as I rely on blogs, I still like researching trips with a good guide book and Lonely Planet makes some of my favorites.
Lonely Planet

Transportation:

Skyscanner — I find Skyscanner and Hipmunk to be my favorite sites for finding the cheapest (or shortest) flights. You can then book directly with the vendor but it will show Southwest, JetBlue, etc. that aren’t always included on other booking sites like Expedia.

Saving Money:

CityPass — I wrote about CityPass recently during our San Francisco visit and recommend purchasing a CityPass if you are planning on visiting a lot of major attractions while visiting a destination. CityPass is available in a wide range of cities including Boston, New York, Seattle, Philadelphia and more.

Living Social and Groupon — One of my money savings tips is to check the local Groupon and Living Social sites for your destination before you leave and see if you can snap up some savings on tours, attractions or restaurants. 
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